Big Ag comes to Franklin

Published 9:49 am Monday, January 30, 2017

Pinnacle Agriculture, a coast-to-coast agricultural retail distribution business operating in 28 states, celebrated the grand opening of its new warehouse and office in Franklin’s Pretlow Industrial Park on Thursday, marking the completion of plans that began in 2014 to relocate from their now-closed Courtland facility.

According to Amanda Jarratt, president of Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc., Pinnacle selected Pretlow Industrial Park as its new location after FSEDI and Franklin’s city council negotiated an economic incentive package to entice the company to move to the city. The company had been seeking a facility in or near Southampton County to expand its warehouse operation and include a manufacturing component.

“Pretlow Industrial Park is located in an enterprise zone,” Jarratt said. “Being in an enterprise zone comes with a standard package of incentives from both the state and the locality. Things it includes are generally a rebate of machinery and tools taxes, rebate of electric utility tax, rebate of electric rates, and rebates of permit fees.

“On the state side, you can apply for a real estate improvement grant. That’s from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Based on the level of investment, you can receive a percentage back from the state. We won’t know what that amount will be until the spring but they are now eligible to apply for that. We’ve had multiple companies benefit from that over the years.”

According to Jarratt, the main reason why Pinnacle chose to relocate to Franklin, and specifically to Pretlow, was because they needed a location zoned M2 industrial so they could perform more intense industrial operations such as blending fertilizer. Their previous facility in Courtland was zoned M1 light industrial, which is generally limited to warehouse and distribution operations.

“Southampton has M2 zones but there were other factors in the decision,” Jarratt said. “We’re thrilled to have them in Pretlow. They’re the first to buy property and build their own facility. It’s a really big deal to sell property in Pretlow.”

Cole Gholston, Pinnacle’s district sales manager for Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and southern Virginia, said the new warehouse measures 24,000 sq. ft. and the detached office building measures 2,400 sq. ft.

The facility will be used to store and distribute crop protection chemicals, seeds, fertilizers and micronutrients.

“It will hold everything we’ll ever need here, and then some,” Gholston said.

Jarratt attended the grand opening, along with Franklin Mayor Frank Rabil, Ward 4 Councilman Linwood Johnson and City Manager R. Randy Martin.

The event included a luncheon catered by Mare’s Nest Galloping Grill, based out of Woodland, North Carolina.

The original sale agreement between FSEDI and Pinnacle specified Providence Agriculture as the company that would own and operate the facility. According to Gholston, Pinnacle is the parent company of several brands, one of which is Providence. Gholston said Pinnacle intends to consolidate its brands into two product lines — Sanders in the company’s southern locations and Pinnacle in the north.